Tiger Woods’ injuries are ‘more difficult to heal,’ says surgeon

Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Scott Boden broke down the scope of Tiger Woods’ injuries and what his recovery could look like on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith,” following the golfer’s devastating crash on Tuesday morning. 

“We know that because it was an open fracture, meaning that the bone penetrated the skin, at least  temporarily, and that it was broken in multiple places, that this was a very high energy fracture, and that makes it a little bit more difficult to heal,” said the professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods is lucky to be alive after he crashed his sports utility vehicle on a steep, winding road in Palos Verdes, south of Los Angeles.

Tiger Woods is “awake, responsive, and recovering” from a long surgery to repair what a doctor called “significant injuries” to his right leg, according to a statement released through his official Twitter account at 12:30 a.m. ET Wednesday. It marks the 10th surgery for the 45-year-old golfer. 

Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said that Woods suffered “comminuted open fractures” to the upper and lower sections of his right leg. In order to stabilize Woods’ leg, doctors needed to insert a rod, screws and pins into his foot and ankle. 

Boden told host Shepard Smith that the more information that comes out on the golfer’s ankle and foot injuries will reveal a lot about recovery time. 

“If those injuries involved the smooth articular surface of the bones where they move in the ankle or in the foot, then that could be a problem with longer-term recovery and arthritis and getting back full range of motion,” explained Boden in a Wednesday evening interview. 

Boden also noted that there “is a chance of infection” but that we do not know the size of the skin opening so “we can’t be sure about that.” He added that while the recovery will take persistence, “it is never wise to count Tiger out when it comes to a comeback.”

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